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Review: New Specialized 2FO DH MTB Shoes stick the landing

specialized 2fo roost dh mtb she review flat pedal option
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Specialized have today released a downhill version of their 2FO Roost mountain bike shoe with both flat pedal and clipless options available. The 2FO DH is made for riders who are looking to ride the roughest terrain as fast as possible. For these riders, Specialized have adjusted every component of the shoe to focus on protecting and stabilizing the rider.

specialized 2fo roost dh mtb flats review
Credit: Finlay Anderson

We have the technical low-down, pricing, sizing, and availability information on both right here. We got the flats in to test on our local DH tracks at Innerleithen to find out what value you’re getting for the $160 price tag.

Review: Specialized 2FO DH Flats

The Specialized 2FO DH flat pedal MTB shoes get the very same 3rd generation SlipNot ST rubber seen on the original Roost shoe launched back in November of last year. This is by far and away their best rubber yet, developed by the Specialized tire team.

3rd Gen SlipNot = Feet on pedals

specialized 2fo roost dh slipnot rubber sole 3rd gen rubber
Credit: Finlay Anderson

I do try to stay away from sensationalism but, it is sort of warranted here. It took just a 200 metre pedal down the road for me to realize this rubber was going to be very good. The sole makes a convincing connection to the pins of my Crankbrothers Stamp 3 pedals. The rubber is so tacky that, during hill intervals sessions, I can actually use the grip to pull up.

specialized 2fo roost dh mtb she review flat pedal option
Credit: Finlay Anderson

Hitting the local downhill tracks, I was blown away by how well the Specialized 2FO DH shoes stick to the pedals. Grip is noticeably better than that offered by other flat pedal MTB shoes I’ve tested recently; namely, Crankbrothers Stamp, Ride Concepts Hellion, and two previous iterations of the 2FO shoe. 

To test the sole’s grip further, I rode one local rough enduro trail with my RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ shock locked out. The fact that my feet remained confidently connected to the pedals for the full duration of the run is a testament to the low rebound characteristics of the SlipNot rubber.

riding innerleithein downhill trails testing specialized 2fo roost dh mtb flat pedal shoes
Riding a fast section of the Matador downhill track in Innerleithen, Scotland. Credit: Finlay Anderson

Placing a foot on a pedal, it is almost impossible to shift your foot around to find a new position once the pins have locked into the rubber. You actually have to pick your foot up and place it back down again. While some riders won’t like the sound of this, I can tell you that it is 110% better than having your feet bounce off the pedals mid-run.

What about the rest of the shoe?

specialized 2fo roost dh mtb flats review
Credit: Finlay Anderson

Now I have conveyed how excellent the grip of the Specialized 2FO DH shoes is, we can move on to the other important stuff. Overall, the DH shoe feels stiffer and more altogether more robust than the original Roost, both on and off the bike. That’s thanks to the presence of an internal shank which serves to absorb impacts and prevent shocks from reaching the rider.

Specialized-2Fo-roost-dh eva mid sole impact absorption shank
Specialized Body Geometry design principle puts emphasis on the Longitudinal Arch, Metatarsal Button, and Varus Wedge areas of the shoe to increase efficiency, optimize hip, knee, and foot alignment, and reduce injury risks. Credit: Finlay Anderson.

The 2FO DH feels like a more secure and tougher shoe. It hugs the foot nicely and a cushioned EVA foam mid-sole provides comfort underfoot. A large injection-molded toe bumper wraps up and over the toes to protect your digits from rock strikes.

specialized body geometry downhill mtb shoes flat pedals
Credit: Finlay Anderson

I can certainly appreciate the differences between the DH shoe and the original Roost. I would always opt to ride with the DH shoes when riding faster downhill tracks with bigger features. They just feel as though they help your feet and ankles deal with the bigger hits better, taking the edge off the rough trail chatter.

xpel water repellent uppers specialized 2fo roost sh
Credit: Finlay Anderson

The Specialized 2FO DH shoes are more durable and weatherproof than the Roost. That’s thanks to the lack of suede on the uppers, replaced with leather and an XPEL hydrophobic mesh. The shoe is completely lined with the latter materiel, reducing water absorption and dramatically improving drying time. They’ll not save you in a downpour but they will keep your feet drier than the Roosts.


The shoes have a basic lace-up closure. We’ve not experienced the laces spontaneously coming undone when wet. There is an elasticated loop half way down the tongue you can use to stow excess lace underneath to stop it from getting caught on anything.

specialized 2fo roost dh flats heel region
The 2FO Roost DH shoe gets a high medial cuff that protects the ankle from pedal strikes. Credit: Finlay Anderson

Walking in the 2FO DH Flats

While walking is something I try not to do too much of while out riding, it is still something that is worth mentioning here. If you’re someone who spends a lot of time sessioning trails, you might want to consider the original 2FO Roost shoes over the DH version tested here. 

specialized 2fo roost dh flat pedal mtb shoe for downhill

Though the tread is deeper at the heel region to aid walking grip, neither shoe is great for this. I would only recommend the originals over these because they offer a little more flex. The DH shoe feels a little clumpy to walk about in.

The Clipless 2FO DH

loic bruni wearing specialized 2fo roost dh clipless mtb shoe

Specialized do of course offer a clipless version of the 2FO DH. It gets many of the same features as the flat shoe described above, including the 3rd Gen SlipNot rubber, the XPEL hydrophobic mesh uppers, and cushioned EVA foam mid-sole. 

specialized 2fo roost dh shoe clipless cleat box wide

For clipless shoes especially, having a solid connection between the cleat box and the sole is really important for power transfer. For this reason, Specialized has added their proprietary Stiff Lollipop nylon composite plate to the DH shoe.

specialized 2fo roost sh clipless shoe action shot

They’ve designed the cleat box to be as accessible as possible, widening and chamfering it to aid clipping in. In comparison to the previous 2FOs, the cleat box is also extended rearward by 4mm to give a more rearward cleat position. The two-bolt cleat pattern is said to fit all major mountain pedals.

Pricing & Availability

The Specialized 2FO DH flat pedal shoe retails at $160. Get it in the Black/Redwood colorway shown here or the Black/Cool Grey colorway. The clipless version retails at $170 and is available in Black/Redwood and Cool Grey colorways. 

2fo roost dh clipless cool grey pair
The Specialized 2FO Roost DH Clipless MTB Shoe in Cool Grey

Pick up both in sizes 36, 37, 38, 38.5, 39, 39.5. 40, 41, 40.5, 41.5, 42, 42.5, 43, 43.5, 44, 44.5, 45, 45.5, 46, 46.5, 47, 48 and 49.


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3 years ago

How is pedal feel compared to a set of Freerider Pros? This seems like the first compelling alternative I’ve read about-finally someone else doing legit, sticky rubber.

3 years ago

mine just came in. The clipless version. Can’t wait for the season.

3 years ago

Can anyone comment on grippiness versus these or 5.10 and the equivalent Shimano shoes? (They’re easier to get here and 5.10 don’t fit my feet.) Thanks!

2 years ago
Reply to  satanas

Way better, no question…grip and feel.

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